Innovating and scaling citizen-centric public services
a2i is the world’s first Innovation Lab+. Its primary goal is to ensure easy, affordable and reliable access to quality public services for all citizens of Bangladesh. Our strategy is to:
- Empower civil servants with the tools, expertise, knowledge and resources they need for experimenting and innovating citizen-centric solutions to public service challenges;
- Establish both physical and online one-stop access points that scale innovative services and make them available to citizens easily, reliably and in an affordable manner;
- Encourage and support non-government actors, including small entrepreneurs, teachers and the youth, to partner with government actors.
Key challenges in public service innovation in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, citizens have to travel long distances, often multiple times, incur high costs and endure considerable delays and hassle to access public services. Meanwhile, the government has to spend substantial amounts in administrative and transaction costs because of archaic, paper-based, manual processes.
Moreover, the centralized, hierarchical nature of decision making means that officers at the mid and field levels do not usually get the opportunity to offer innovative ideas to improve services and their delivery systems. They also lack the tools and resources to experiment with potential solutions.
a2i’s unique Innovation Lab+ model
a2i drives the creation of a public service innovation ecosystem and delivery infrastructure from the Prime Minister’s Office working closely with the Cabinet Division.
a2i’s unique, simple and powerful Innovation Lab+ model revolves around:
- Cultivating ‘Empathy’
- Reducing ‘TCV’
- Simplifying through ‘SPS’
- Supporting innovation through ‘Service Innovation Fund’
- Celebrating innovators with ‘Innovation Summits’
- Establishing delivery platforms enabling ‘Services for All’
Impact, results & recognition
Our work has empowered thousands of civil servants to redesign services in a citizen-centric manner and launch ‘Innovation Projects’ around the country, especially at the field level. And over 100,000 civil servants and thousands of Digital Centre Entrepreneurs have been trained to implement e-services centrally created by many ministries with facilitation from a2i.
The 5,000+ Digital Centres and the National Portal uniting 43,000+ government offices now deliver over 100 services – both public and private – to an average 4.5 million underserved citizens at a much lower ‘TCV’ (the time, cost and number of visits it takes citizens to access services) than before. Services that previously required multiple trips to the district government office 20-30 km away are now available at the nearby Digital Centre within a walking distance of 3 km. On an average, time to receive services has come down by 85%, cost by 63% and the number of visits by 40%. A study of 23 services over a period of 6 years reveals that simplification and digitization saved citizens over half a billion dollars. a2i has supported numerous evidenced-based policy reform initiatives to enable and sustain many of these changes.
Bangladesh’s leadership in public service innovation is being recognized internationally. The Governments of Maldives, Bhutan and a2i have established a learning partnership to facilitate the development of their own Innovation Lab+, a great example of South-South Cooperation.